Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

The Great Magician King Song Contest

I’m not exactly a mad genius of self-promotion here at Magicians LLC, but I did once do something really clever: I asked Parry Gripp of Nerf Herder to write a theme song for the Magicians books. It’s called “I Wanna Be a Magician,” and it is deeply, deeply excellent.

It goes like this:

(I know I just broke the frame of my own blog. I suck at YouTube. And blogs.)

I love that song so much. I love it as much as the books the theme song of which it is (<–professional writer!) I firmly believe that it should be played as often as possible, in as many ways as possible, by as many people as possible.

So with that in mind, and in honor of The Magician King being published in paperback on May 29, I’m holding a contest for the best cover version of “I Wanna Be a Magician.” Parry picks the winner. The winner gets a cool $250.

There are no holds barred here. Any and all instruments are acceptable. Improvisation is encouraged. You can add variations, facemelting solos, virtuoso cadenzas, new lyrics, new verses, whatever you like. As long as we can recognize the song, it’s in. I don’t care if you have a band, or an orchestra, or an a buy zithromax tablets capella ensemble, or a mellotron, or a hammered dulcimer, or a hammered mellotron. Cover the song and you’re in the running.

To enter: upload your entry to YouTube and give it the tag “magiciankingsongs.” I will then add it to this YouTube channel. This may be an awful and klugey way to run the contest, but as I may have mentioned I suck at YouTube, and I couldn’t think of anything else. We’ll announce the winner here on May 29.

Parry has graciously provided the chords and lyrics, as I am a musical idiot:



	G	Bm
I wanna be a magician
	Em	G
And study at Brakebills
	Am	C
Wander though the hedge maze
	G	D
And cast magic missile spells

	G	Bm
Wanna go where the clock-trees
	Em	G
Are ticking in the breeze
	Am	C
'Neath the shade of Castle Whitespire
 	G	D
In the laaaaaaand of

	Em	D
Hunt the Seeing Hare and
	C	G
The Questing Beast
	Em	D
Ride the Cozy Horse with
	C	G
Its coat of velveteen
	Em	D
Charge the Ember and the Chatwins
	C	G
To the Western Sea
	Am	Em
And defeat the Watcherwoman
In the land of Fillory

[battle section]

	G	Bm
You can keep New York City, 'Cause
	Em	G
there's nothing here for me.
	Am	C
Wanna be a magician
 	G	Bm	D
In the laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand of
	G	C
	Bm	D

[outro - repeat X 10,000,000]
	G	C
I wanna be a Magician
	Bm	D
(in the laaaaaaaaand)

That’s all I got. Go! Questions? I’ll answer’em in comments.

39 comments on “The Great Magician King Song Contest

  1. Heather Head says:

    To some of us, a signed copy of the book would be stronger incentive than the $250. In fact, if you throw that in, I’ll make a cover version (a what-did-you-call-it-again?) or whatever and I’m not even a musician. I’m not even quite sure what musicians do.

  2. Leverus says:

    That’s a good idea! Winner gets signed copies of both books too.

    I’m not very clear on what musicians do either. I just think of it as “that thing that I can’t do.”

  3. Josh says:

    Oh, it’s on all right. It is SO on.

  4. Josh says:

    Also, are multiple entries allowed?

  5. Leverus says:

    Signs point to yes? Yes.

  6. Nicole says:

    If judging is on May 29, is the deadline for submissions prior to May 29?

  7. Leverus says:

    Exactly. Sorry, that could have been clearer. Anything uploaded prior to midnight May 29 is eligible.

  8. Unfortunately — ugh I hate starting posts with ‘unfortunately’…

    Regrettably, I am unable to either hold a tune or play a musical instrument. I’m content to just hum along to the original and await others’ entries with asthmatic breath.

  9. Zoe says:

    I know one can send an e-postcard from the Magicians website, but is there anywhere I can order real copies of the amazing postcards? Please say yes.

  10. Tiffany W says:

    I was just thinking the same thing as Zoe about the postcards! I would LOVE to order these postcards or even have them as posters!

  11. Matt D. says:

    Ok, so this question really doesn’t belong here, but I’m in the middle of rereading “The Magicians” and I just came across the first reference to Janet, where Gretchen mentions Janet Way and “the fat one,” Josh Hoberman. But I seem to recall Janet’s last name being given as Pluchinsky in “The Magician King.” Am I missing something/getting something wrong here? Sorry if this has been asked before, but it’s going to bug me now…

  12. Abby Lollar says:

    I sing this to my little niece, Ruby, and she falls asleep with no fight at all. My sister is amazed. She just read The Magicians for the first time, and received The Magician King in the mail day before yesterday.

  13. Leverus says:

    @Matt D Just stay where you are. The black helicopters will be there shortly.

  14. Matt D. says:


  15. Alma says:

    Very nice song but I like the artwork better. Those would make cool stickers, like the old travel stickers people would put on their luggage.

    Easily done at MOO or some such place.

    Think about it.

  16. Leverus says:

    They’re beautiful, aren’t they? Sadly, according to those skilled in the dark arts of law-o-mancy, I don’t actually own the rights to those images …

  17. new lyrics,newlyrics,lyrics…

    […]The Great Magician King Song Contest « Lev Grossman[…]…

  18. Nicole says:

    Here is Part 1 of my contest entry:


    No, it’s not a YouTube vid. That’s Part 2, which will also include Perry’s song.

    You can probably guess where I’m going with this, especially if you’re tracking the chord progressions. 🙂

  19. […] Grossman’s book The Magician King, in paperback on May 29, probably my favorite book ever. The Magician King song contest, if you want to […]

  20. […] for the Magician King Song Contest have surged since that last post, from zero to I believe two at this point. So that’s a […]

  21. nicholalex says:

    My entry:


    It’s not the original melody, but the same lyrics, which I figure (hope) is adequate.

    Thanks very much for this! Lots of fun!

  22. Rina Weisman says:

    Cool idea! For fans in the San Francisco Bay Area, Lev will be appearing at SF in SF with fellow author S. G. Browne on Sat. June 16th. More details at http://www.sfinsf.org. We’ll play the winning song to usher Lev into the theatre!!

  23. […] But there’s still the long weekend to enter! You’re good up through midnight, May 28. Details here. […]

  24. aaron says:

    Great idea for a contest! Here’s my (last minute) entry:


  25. Entien says:

    good contest I’m a last minute entry I hop y’ell like it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBKpfM5xtCo&feature=plcp

  26. LazyBookworm says:

    Any winner chosen yet?

  27. Leverus says:

    Not yet…I believe the list is narrowing…

  28. Sinclair says:

    Any word on the winner yet?

  29. Andreas says:

    Who won?:)

  30. Leverus says:

    Announcing tomorrow, w/out fail. Sorry for the delay, I had a tricky week.

  31. Andy says:

    Have the winners been announced?

  32. Andy (the second:) says:

    Who won/ have the winner been announced?:)

  33. […] trilogy, or if you’ve read it already, check out this great song inspired by the books: I Wanna Be a Magician (linked to Lev Grossman’s blog)–there was even a recent contest for best cover of the […]

  34. Andreas says:

    Who won?

  35. Anwar says:

    There are some interesting pontis in time in this article however I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There may be some validity however I will take maintain opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we would like more! Added to FeedBurner as well

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